December 7, 2016

IF ONLY WE'D HAD THEIR HELP AT BORA BORA:

How Iran closed the Mosul 'horseshoe' and changed Iraq war (Dominic Evans, Maher Chmaytelli and Patrick Markey, 12/07/16, Reuters)

The original campaign strategy called for Iraqi forces to close in around Mosul in a horseshoe formation, blocking three fronts but leaving open the fourth - to the west of the city leading to Islamic State territory in neighboring Syria.

That model, used to recapture several Iraqi cities from the ultra-hardline militants in the last two years, would have left fighters and civilians a clear route of escape and could have made the Mosul battle quicker and simpler.

But Tehran, anxious that retreating fighters would sweep back into Syria just as Iran's ally President Bashar al-Assad was gaining the upper hand in his country's five-year civil war, wanted Islamic State crushed and eliminated in Mosul.

The sources say Iran lobbied for Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization fighters to be sent to the western front to seal off the link between Mosul and Raqqa, the two main cities of Islamic State's self-declared cross-border caliphate.

That link is now broken. For the first time in Iraq's two-and-half-year, Western-backed drive to defeat Islamic State, several thousand militants have little choice but to fight to the death, and 1 million remaining Mosul citizens have no escape from the front lines creeping ever closer to the city center.

"If you corner your enemy and don't leave an escape, he will fight till the end," said a Kurdish official involved in planning the Mosul battle.

Posted by at December 7, 2016 3:51 PM

  

« WHY NOT MAKE HIM CHIEF OF STAFF AND LET HIM KEEP RUNNING THE COUNTRY?: | Main | THERE LIE THE HESSIANS: »